English Bishop to Pope Francis on Child Abuse: Accountability & Supervision Required For Priests… 

Letter of Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth (pictured below)
to His Holiness Pope Francis

22nd August 2018

Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
Vatican City


Most Holy Father,


I am writing in the light of the terrible scandals of the abuse of minors by clergy revealed by the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. To these can be added the scandals in Chile, Australia, Ireland and now here in England too, in light of the Independent Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse. Clerical sex abuse seems to be a world-wide phenomenon in the Church. As a Catholic and a Bishop, these revelations fill me with deep sorrow and shame. I pray for the healing of the poor victims. I pray for the forgiveness of the perpetrators. I pray too for myself, and for all our clergy and people, that by our penance we will grow in holiness.

I wanted to make a constructive suggestion. Would it be possible to call an Extraordinary Synod on the Life and Ministry of Clergy? The Synod might begin with a ‘congress,’ attended by the bishops but formed of laity and others expert in the clergy abuse scandals and in the safeguarding of children and the vulnerable. The fruits of this could then be taken forward into a Synod of Bishops proper. I suggest the Synod be devoted to the identity of being a priest/bishop, to devising guidance on life-style and supports for celibacy, to proposing a rule of life for priests/bishops and to establishing appropriate forms of priestly/episcopal accountability and supervision. Canon Law could then be revised in the light of the outcomes and each Diocese be required to apply it by developing its own Directory for Clergy.

As a Bishop, I seem to have few tools to facilitate the day to day management of clergy. For example, when I was a seminary formator, we spent several years devising a balanced system of annual assessments and scrutiny, based on Pastores Dabo Vobis, to help an individual student take responsibility for his formation. By contrast, once ordained, priests/bishops have few formal ongoing assessments or ministerial supervision. It ought to be possible to devise mechanisms to help bishops in their responsibilities towards clergy and to help clergy realise they are not ‘lone operatives’ but ministers accountable to the direction and leadership of the diocese – nihil sine episcopo.

Most Holy Father, please be assured of my prayers for you in your daunting ministry. I look forward to meeting you soon for the Ad Limina.

In Corde Iesu

+Philip

Bishop of Portsmouth

Read report appending the above letter here

Comment

Bishop Egan’s initiative is to be warmly welcomed.  At last a prelate showing the need for practical steps to end this scandal of clerical sexual abuse of young people.  Will the Pope take up his suggestion though?  And what sorts of “mechanism” and “rule of life” would YOU like to see adopted for priests?  How might priests react to the introduction of measures of accountability and supervision, having become used to the kind of laxity we have seen in the seminaries (none left in Scotland, as a result) and in their priestly lifestyle.  They seem to be a law unto themselves at the moment.  How might they react to restrictions being imposed on them now? Is it too late? Or,  as the saying goes, is it never too late?  

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven,      pray for us! 

English Bishop Outed as LGBT Supporter: Speaker at Quest Conference

Bishop Doyle of Northampton was featured with a list of known “gay” activists to speak at a Quest Conference, 10th – 12th August 2018.  Click on the image for details. 

Don’t be misled by the “Pastoral Support for LGBTI Catholics” baloney. The members of Quest are Catholics who fit the Vatican’s 1986 warning, perfectly.  In his Letter to the Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, the then Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI writes:

14. …this Congregation wishes to ask the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programmes which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful. For example, they may present the teaching of the Magisterium, but only as if it were an optional source for the formation of one’s conscience. Its specific authority is not recognized. Some of these groups will use the word “Catholic” to describe either the organization or its intended members, yet they do not defend and promote the teaching of the Magisterium; indeed, they even openly attack it. While their members may claim a desire to conform their lives to the teaching of Jesus, in fact they abandon the teaching of his Church. This contradictory action should not have the support of the Bishops in any way.
15. We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin. We would heartily encourage programmes where these dangers are avoided. But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve. Click here to read entire Letter to the Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

Comments invited…     

Is the UK no longer free? 

The treatment of Tommy Robinson, coupled with the contrived outrage over Boris Johnson’s ‘burka’ remarks this week, do beg the question: is Tucker Carlson right to question whether, in fact, the UK really is a free land?   And why are the Catholic bishops not asking the same question? 

Comments invited…   

23/4 – Feast of St George of England!

 

Comment:

How will you be celebrating St George’s Day?  Hopefully, all Catholic Truth readers, bloggers and visitors to this site will remember a prayer for the hierarchy of England on this Feast, imploring all the graces necessary for them to begin the work of restoring the traditional Catholic Faith in their land, which bears the beautiful title of “Dowry of Mary”